After dinner tonight I decided to load the kids up and take them out. We were all catching cabin fever with the crazy weather we've had lately so I thought it best to get us out for a bit. Now, I can be terribly lazy at times and just the mere thought of getting everyone loaded in the car defeats me before I have even begun. Reminds me of my cross country days where I would see the finish line in front of me but it was so far away. So far away that mentally I had lost the race before it even begun.
The load up. I can't stand it. Put on your shoes please. No, not those shoes it's cold outside. A tantrum begins and I cave in and decide fine, let the child wear flip flops even though it's 30% outside. Just not a battle I care to fight right now. Little man needs his diaper changed,..ok fine. I can handle that. He starts screaming at me. I'm sure calling me curse words in his baby language. "No, Mom I like walking around in my own poop. It's very comforting." Find the diaper bag, fill the diaper bag. Lug the huge diaper bag to the car. Now where's my car keys. Nice, little man decided to hide them under the couch just far enough out of reach where I had to move the entire sofa to get to them. Cut to 30 minutes later and beads of sweat along my forehead and we haven't even left yet. Finally load both kiddo's in the car and buckle them down.
I had planned to take them to McDonald's for ice scream and play time. Unfortunately the McDonald's closest to us is one of the dirty ones. You all know what I'm talking about. The McDonald's that looks like it hasn't been cleaned in years. The McDonald's that is in the slightly older area of town. It's a tough call because it's so much closer to your house but your gambling. Is the close drive worth the chance of catching swine flu? Suddenly I remember there's a Chick-Fil-A just as close so we head in that direction.
Coffee,...must have coffee... shutting down...powering down...need coffee. I stop in at the Starbucks. Curse you Starbucks for not having a drive through. Can I do it? Can I manage the kids inside Starbucks without leaving a trail of destruction behind us? Little man is strong and little man is stubborn. I walked in and everyone looked so put together. Everyone except me and my crew. I took notice of what we looked like in the reflection of the windows. I saw myself in a maternity hoodie, the shirt that I wore yesterday then slept in and turned around and wore again today. A woman who had been popping Midol pills all day like they were candy. Jeans that were 2 sizes too big for me where I couldn't find my own butt lost somewhere deep inside the abyss of my jeans. Baby girl had marker streaked across her face and hands from craft time earlier. Wearing blue owl leggings and a multi-colored striped shirt with croc flip flops in 30% weather. Little man was dressed appropriately but had left over dinner smeared across his face and some unknown "stuff" stuck in his curly hair.
Wow,...even I judged myself. That is one tired Mom in that reflection. Those poor kids,..I wonder if they even have food to eat.
Managed to keep little man in my arms although he was fighting the best wrestling match of all time trying to squirm away. I think everyone in the Starbucks loved the screams and squeals coming out of his mouth. It mixed perfectly with the smooth jazz and the book reading that was going on there.
When did I become so uncool?
Back in the car, back in the car seats we went on our way to Chick-Fil-A. Very unfortunately as I tried to boost Little Man higher up on my hip, coffee poured all over the front of my shirt. Now this only drew attention to my boobs. My boobs that were being carried in an old bra that doesn't fit at all. You know the one you wear on a day when you plan on staying inside. The good old stand by. The one that lets them droop down as low as they want to go. The one that gives your boobs a day off. Now with the coffee high-lighting them it was ever so painfully obvious that boob A was a size 12 bowling ball and boob B was a size 8 bowling ball. Symmetry, don't take it for granted.
I HATE the play structures at fast food places. My children ALWAYS get lost inside them. When baby girl was still a toddler I remember climbing up to get her while I was 9 months pregnant. That was no easy task and I'm sure I looked ridiculous. As we entered the restaurant, a dagger hit me right in my Achilles heel. Balloons. Balloons everywhere. Balloons that are meant for decoration and not for 2 year old boys. Why do you have to decorate with balloons Chick-Fil-A? Do you know what a cruel joke that is on a parent? Little man went absolutely crazy. Crazy like a drug addict looking for his next fix. Little man and I played tug a war with his arm until I was successful at getting him in the play area. Once inside there was a little boy about 20 months old who began screaming. I looked around for a parent but I was the only one in there. I got up to help the little guy and thought to myself,...I hope little man doesn't get away from me while I'm distracted helping this parent less child.
By this time big kids had decided to come and claim the play structure. What is it with the big kids in the play structure. YOU'RE TOO OLD TO PLAY IN THERE. The rule is, if you are old enough to have a 5 o'clock shadow then you are too old to play in a play structure! They kept opening the door and leaving it open as they stood in the doorway. It was driving me crazy. I knew little man would make his escape at the ever lovin balloons that were taunting him inside the eating area.
Then it happened, I lost little man.
I called up for my daughter to ask if she saw little man up there. She said she did so I relaxed for a moment. This is why I can't stand these play structures. Kids get lost so easily up there and it's hard to find them. Have you ever tried to holler up at a kid explaining to them how to get out when the only knowledge of where they are is how far the echo of their voice sounds. I notice after I had sat there for quite a while drinking my coffee that I hadn't heard little man's voice. Quite strange and out of the ordinary. I call to baby girl again and ask her one more time if little man is with her. This time she replies, "No." Silent panic sets in. I go outside to the restaurant area just to make sure I don't see little man. I come back in and like a crazy person I make all the kids who are playing stop what they are doing and go inside the tubes to find a baby. I give them all explicit directions and order them to call down for me once they have found him. Growing anxious I decided it was time for me to crawl up inside the tubes.
Fear. Panic. Nausea
What happens next? Someone walks into the play area with my son in their hands. That's right. Little man had gotten out for who knows how long to retrieve the balloon. He was getting that balloon no matter what. I was mortified and relieved all at the same time. I looked disheveled and uncared for and so did my children. And now this uncared and disheveled Mom had lost her own child. I did what any Mom would do next,..packed my kids and headed home.
Should have stayed home? Now that's an understatement.